Congratulations to Tadej Pogacar, winner of Tour de France

Not our usual subject matter but not your usual Tour de France – down to the wire!

We just wanted to congratulate Tadej Pogacar on a thrilling and spectacular win at the Tour de France. Like many folk, we though Team Jumbo Visma had the race tied up in the outstanding form of Primoz Roglic, but his Estonian compatriot Pogacar pulled out an extraordinary ride to snatch the winner’s jersey., for Team UAE Emirates.

Team Jumbo Visma leading the way up a mountain stage in 2020
Tadej Pogacar in yellow on “Paris Sunday”

We also wanted to mention Thomas de Gendt. He always provides plenty of entertainment in the Tour and this year was no exception. He is a great trier and a huge character. We hope he keeps riding for many more years. (Sorry – no photo)

A windy day in Weymouth Harbour

A quick sweep of boats bobbing in the waves

Yesterday (19th September 2020), it was a bit breezy here in Weymouth. Still sunny, so we popped out the back door to take a quick film of the Harbour. We noticed, along with the boats, the pontoons were moving significantly under the swell. The chap walking his dog along the pontoons had to pause for a moment to allow the rocking motions to subside. Today, the first “Yachtie” braved the channel and his spot was taken by a luxury cruiser (sorry, no photo).

Stand Up Paddleboarding

On Weymouth Beach

Stand up paddleboarding has become a fast-growing popular pastime around Weymouth. The sport offers fitness, sea views, fresh air and fun in equal measure. Numerous clubs have sprung up and lessons are available on Weymouth Beach, at Bowleze Cove, Portland Harbour, among others. Even our neighbours join in, bridging the gap from beginner to intermediate level. A prime advantage for them is they live just 30 yards from the beach, like us. I tried my hand at it but my wife said it was like watching a breaching whale! The nephews are good at it, though.

Lessons for Stand up Paddleboarding in front of Aaran Guesthouse

Some useful links for Stand Up Paddleboarding clubs and lessons

First pleasure craft of the Summer

Yachts are returning to Weymouth Harbour

Weymouth Harbour looking out toward Nothe Fort: an early Summer Yacht, 7th July
Weymouth Harbour looking out toward Nothe Fort: an early Summer Yacht, 7th July

It is great to see pleasure craft starting to return to Weymouth Harbour. The lockdown has been long and devoid of much normal activity. Yachts and Tall Ships have been sorely missed this year. Although there have been a few stand up paddleboarders around.

The “bounce-back”

We have seen most of the Guesthouses and Hotels re-opening this week. Pubs and restaurants are starting to open again and it is good news all round for Tourism. Even Covid-19 nes is reasonably good recently. Dorset cases are believed to be below 2 cases per day. The UK Government has pledged to buy 100 million doses of a trial vaccine (ADZ1222) from Astra-Zeneca?Oxford UNiversity. Also, UK is purchasing a further 60 million doses of “ASO3” vaccine from Sanofi/Glaxo-Smith-Kline, despite worries earlier about availability. Hopefully, one or both of these vaccines will prove effective.

Harbour changes – Pleasure craft return

Meanwhile, in the Harbour, the pontoons are back and align better with available services (power, water, etc). There is hope for a new Harbourmaster appointment. The new Ferry Steps are open and Weymouth Bay cruises are back. Unfortunately, the Portland Ferry and rowboat ferries will not start till 2021. There is hope that a new cross-channel Ferry may be in sight, following negotiations.

More yachts on 7th July, early morning
More yachts on 7th July, early morning

Covid-19 Liability Waiver

Please, all guests read and sign this waiver

I acknowledge the contagious nature of the Coronavirus/COVID-19 and that the NHS and many other public health authorities still recommend practicing social distancing.
I further acknowledge that Aaran Guesthouse has put in place preventative measures to reduce the spread of the Coronavirus/COVID-19.

I further acknowledge that Aaran Guesthouse can not guarantee that I will not become infected with the Coronavirus/Covid-19.

I understand that the risk of becoming exposed to and/or infected by the Coronavirus/COVID-19 may result from the actions, omissions, or negligence of myself and others, including, but not limited to, guesthouse staff, and other clients and their families.

I voluntarily seek services provided by Aaran Guesthouse and acknowledge that I am increasing my risk to exposure to the Coronavirus/COVID-19.

I acknowledge that I must comply with all set procedures to reduce the spread while attending my appointment.
I attest that:

  • I am not experiencing any symptom of illness such as cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fever, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, or new loss of taste or smell.
  • I have not traveled internationally within the last 14 days.
  • I have not traveled to a highly impacted area in the last 14 days.
  • I do not believe I have been exposed to someone with a suspected and/or confirmed case of the Coronavirus/COVID-19.
  • I have not been diagnosed with Coronavirus/Covid-19 and not yet cleared as non contagious by state or local public health authorities.
  • I am following all NHS recommended guidelines as much as possible and limiting my exposure to the Coronavirus/COVID-19.

I hereby release and agree to hold Aaran Guesthouse (“Aaran House”) harmless from, and waive on behalf of myself, my heirs, and any personal representatives any and all causes of action, claims, demands, damages, costs, expenses and compensation for damage or loss to myself and/or property that may be caused by any act, or failure to act of the guesthouse, or that may otherwise arise in any way in connection with any services received from Aaran Guesthouse.

I understand that this release discharges Aaran Guesthouse from any liability or claim that I, my heirs, or any personal representatives may have against the guesthouse with respect to any bodily injury, illness, death, medical treatment, or property damage that may arise from, or in connection to, any services received from Aaran Guesthouse.

This liability waiver and release extends to the guesthouse together with all owners, partners, and employees.

Re-opening 4th July

We are re-opening on 4th July and have our safety measures in place already

UK Government has confirmed that many more businesses may re-open soon, we have started plans. Therefore, part of our planning for re-opening on 4th July, is to re-open our booking diaries and add safety messages for prospective guests.

Book with Confidence. Re-opening 4th July. We are prepared with guidance handbook, PPE and training already in place.
Book with ConfidenceSafety measures are in place to protect our guests

We suspect UK Government may require risk assessment as part of the legal framework for re-opening. So far, they have “mentioned” this for non-essential shops but have NOT clearly stated it as legally required. Accordingly, we think HSE may require it but they also have NOT been clear.

In order to be ready, we have undertaken some basic training for Covid-19 readiness. Courses include correct use of PPE and control and prevention of virus spread.

We have prepared a brief handbook, containing risk assessment and guidance sheets, for ourselves, guest and staff.

Visit Britain Good to Go logo
We are accredited by Visit Britain
covid_confident_certificate

In this series of posts, we tried to outline what the Covid-19 lock down has meant for us. We have strayed into political comment here and there. But only because the Government’s handling of the emergency has been disastrously slow and inept. Allegedly, the UK is suffering the World’s worst economic impact. And we have the second-highest death-rate in the World. When Minister after Minister comes on TV daily spouting they have “done the right thing at the right time” it grates on the nerves. They point to their “unprecendented” achievements and it pales compared to many other countries. Claims to be “following the Science”, just look like getting their excuses ready.

In this period of uncertainty, we want to re-open in July, on the 4th as vaguely suggested by Government. We think we have everything in place to re-open safely, including training, risk assessments and PPE. We hope our customers will feel safe when they return to Aaran House.

Covid-19 Lockdown – end of Month 3

We are preparing for bookings after 4th July, with PPE, hand gel and safety measures

Overview of the last month

Government ignore the warnings. That could be the title for the whole Covid-19 mess

A busy month

During the last month, we have seen many changes. Government ignore the warnings and press on with easements on lockdown. Measures included permission to travel and meet in small groups. Some shielded persons may now venture outside. We anticipate re-opening on July 4th. Although this may change again, depending on UK.Gov restrictions.

Crowded beaches after the Cummings affair and Government ignore the warnings
Beaches were crowded after the Cummings affair
(Photo taken from the relative safety of the Esplanade!)

Preparing to re-open

We have tentatively re-opened our booking diary from 4th July. Some PPE has been ordered and received (facemasks, gloves, gowns, bootees, sanitizer). We await guidelines SPECIFIC to small hotels, guesthouses and b&b’s. Meanwhile, we are trying to follow lengthy and detailed guidelines from UK Hospitality Association.

Your author, has undertaken (and passed) two basic Covid-19 online courses from WHO. These concerned correct use of PPE and control of pandemic outbreaks, including Covid-19.

Government mired in controversy

We do not intend to dwell too much on the “Demonic” Cummings affair. His betrayal of the British People and arrogantly issued web of blatant lies must go down in History as something akin to Benedict Arnold, Judas Iscariot or maybe Pol Pot, before he took over completely. UK Government has lost respect and trust in supporting this treacherous weasel. (No insult intended to weasels!) Again, Government ignore the warnings. Maybe enough survivors will remain to vote out the incompetents who steered us into personal and financial tragedy on a mass scale.

Cummings and Government ignore the warnings
Blind or stupid. Certainly arrogant.

The results may have been evident in the displays of thoughtless, careless and senseless crowds in the good weather of the following weekend. Basically, many folk started to believe the rules did not apply to them and we fervently hope a second wave is not the consequence.

Lack of trust in UK Government

Many questions remain, by NHS, Scientists, fellow MP’s and Head of UK Statistics, as to:

  • Why “quarantine” visitors now instead of months ago?
  • Should’nt “Test, track and trace” have started BEFORE the numbers grew?
  • Abroad, trace methods include phone tracking, surveillance camera data, credit card data, etc – why not here?
  • Are there “invalid” numbers of deaths – and test data for that matter?
  • After seeing the examples set by South Korea, Vietnam, Australia and others, why did UK Government ignore the warnings and delay for over a month before taking (the wrong!) actions?
  • Seeing Turkey take very prompt actions, including SENDING test personnel out to suspected victims AND providing results AND contact tracking data WITHIN 24 hours, why cannot the UK do that?
  • Why did UK Government ignore the warnings about pandemics in the reports from 2007, 2011 and Cygnus Report of 2016 – all of which highlighted lack of preparedness, lack of PPE, lack of respirators and vulnerability in Care Homes? They commissioned and paid for these reports!

We try to avoid politics in our blogs but, in this case, many lives are at risk and a floppy-haired child of four could have done better (with a “trusted” Chief Aide, of course!) That is our opinion.

Quarantine for inbound travellers

Well, it’s not a quarantine is it? Quarantine is corralling suspected cases together, while track and trace goes on. Politely asking travellers to self-isolate for 14 days serves no purpose except to continue to cripple the Tourism industry. For reference, the Tourism Sector is the third largest in the UK. (Worth about £127Billion a year, or 8 times as much as TV, Radio and Films together!)

BAME – Groups at special risk from Covid-19

Along with elderly males and those with certain pre-existing conditions, BAME groups appear to be at greater risk from infection and severity. (BAME = Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic groups).

Worldwide data for Covid-19 deaths, as of 4th May 2020. Deaths per million Population

EU Nations“A”“B”
Belgium 834Philippines 9Dominican Republic 49
UK 598Pakistan 8Honduras 24
Spain 581Afghanistan 8Algeria 16
Italy 556Japan 7South Africa 14
Sweden 446Indonesia 6Egypt 11
France 433South Korea 5Gabon 9
Netherlands 347Bangladesh 5Equitorial Guinea 9
Interestingly, the lowest death rates are for central African countries
although things may change in future data sets.

China, where it all began, has a death rate of 3.3 while India has 4.5. Nations such as Nigeria, Chad, Congo, Cite d’Ivoire, Somalia (etc) are typically below 2.0 death rates so far. Despite highly effective and prompt measures to combat spread and track cases, Turkey has a death rate around 56. The higher susceptibility to infection and death seems to be local to European countries, as yet.

Summary

1. NOT “following the science”

WHO study finds 1 metre is adequate for social distancing. Blindly sticking to 2 metres threatens £137Billion hospitality sector AND 1million jobs.

2. “Doing the wrong thing at the wrong time”

Labour Shadow Home Secretary claims “only 273 people were quarantined during the pandemic period”. However 18 million travellers were allowed in. No wonder the disease spread so fast and killed so many people.

3. Top Italian scientists claim the virus is losing potency

If true, this would explain the fast peak in deaths, followed by a long slow decline in numbers. It also implies all the UK measures were a complete waste of time.

4. “Test, Track and Trace” not going to be useful

WHO studies have shown that asymptomatic cases are not as infectious as first thought. This means test, track and trace needs to focus on the 2 or so days when symptoms show. However, results MUST be much, much faster to be effective (10 minutes approx in many countries!) Also, the programme is at least 3 months too late. UK still does not have enough testing capacity either. (Government ignore the warnings!)

5. Lockdown may have been a waste of time

The UK lockdown was not effective, too late and has cost the economy over £300Billion (and counting!) By contrast, Sweden has had no lockdown and only about 1/8th as many deaths. However, the Swedish economy has hardly been impacted. Unlike ours.

6. Nightingale Hospitals – a white elephant?

NHS London Nightingale Hospital opened on 3rd April, over 2 months after the first Covid-19 case in the UK. As of 4th May it stands empty. Five of the other 6 such hospitals are now open. Meanwhile, in China, the 1000-bed Huoshenshan Hospital opened in Hubei Province on 1st February. It took just 10 days to build and is totally “state-of-the-art”. Nurses can mostly tend patients remotely, minimising carer exposure. The 1600-bed Leishenshan Hospital opened on 8th February. (Engineering and Technology, March 2020, 92-93). Even the Gaza Strip has a large field hospital for Covid-19 patients.

A postcard from Weymouth Events

Postcard Series

In a normal year, there are over 200 Weymouth events, mostly on the Beach or Weymouth Bay. The Seafood Festival takes place on the Harbourside. Harley Davison bikes gather on the Pavilion forecourt. Britain’s biggest New Years Eve Fancy Dress Party stretches right across the Town. Rather than write a massive tome, we thought we would just show images from a few events we enjoyed. (See the index at the foot of the page)

Kite Festival on Weymouth Beach

Weymouth Events. International Beach Kite Festival
International Beach KiteAaran Guesthouse You Tube playlist Festival

Sporting events in Weymouth

Static Kite display on the Beach. One of many Weymouth Events
Static Kite display on the Beach

Autocross

Beach Buggy racing. A surprising Weymouth Event a few years ago.
Beach Buggy racing
Supercharged Landrover Testing on Weymouth Beach
Supercharged Landrover Beach Testing

Motocross

Climbing sand dunes in Motocross racing. The biggest Weymouth Event in October.
Climbing sand dunes in Motocross racing
Beach Motocross start line in front of Aaran House. A Weymouth Event with plenty of noise, drama and entertainment.
Beach Motocross start line in front of Aaran House

Dragon Boats in Weymouth Bay

Dragon Boat racing on Weymouth Beach
Dragon Boat racing on Weymouth Beach

Gig Boats

Local Gig Boat Racing off Weymouth Beach
Local Gig Boat Racing off Weymouth Beach
Portland Island Gig Boat entry
Portland Island Gig Boat entry

Iron Man Triathlon on The Esplanade

Iron Man 70.3 Winner 2018. This has become a regular Weymouth Event.
Iron Man 70.3 Winner 2018

Cultural events in Weymouth

Seafood Festival in Weymouth Harbour

Seafood Festival. The biggest such Event in UK, held here in Weymouth Harbour
Seafood Festival – maybe coming back in 2021
Curries at the Seafood Festival. An all you can eat Weymouth Event
Curries at the Seafood Festival

Beach events

Volleyball on Weymouth Beach

Volleyball on Weymouth Beach
Volleyball on Weymouth Beach
Don’t know what this signal means

Santa Run

Santa Fun Run at the start on Weymouth Beach
Santa Fun Run at the start

Harbour and Bay events

Harbour Swim

Wall Family out in force for the Christmas Day Weymouth Harbour Swim
Wall Family out in force for the Christmas Day Weymouth Harbour Swim

Powerboat Racing in Weymouth Bay

Formula ! Powerboat Racing in Weymouth Bay
Formula ! Powerboat Racing in Weymouth Bay

Veteran and Historic vehicles

Vintage Cars on Pavilion Forecourt

Classic Morris in blue
Classic Morris in blue
Pristine Veteran Bentley
Pristine Veteran Bentley

Harley Davison Display

A gorgeous Harley Davison
A gorgeous Harley Davison
Super artwork on a Harley Davison fuel tank
Super artwork on a Harley Davison fuel tank
Harley Davison in all its glory
Harley Davison in all its glory

Veterans Parade on The Esplanade

Marching Bands on Veteran's Day on The Esplanade
Marching Bands on Veteran’s Day on The Esplanade
Old Heroes marching down The Esplanade
Old Heroes marching down The Esplanade

Military Vehicles

Annual military vehicle display
Annual military vehicle display
A Sherman Tank (we think) on The Esplanade
A Sherman Tank (we think) on The Esplanade

D-Day Landings. A spectacular Weymouth Event

Troops disembarked for D-Day Landings re-enactment
Troops disembarked for D-Day Landings re-enactment
D-Day battle re-enactment
D-Day battle re-enactment

Civil War re-enactment

Preparing to fire the muzzle-loading cannon
Preparing to fire the muzzle-loading cannon
A musket volley before the pikestaff charge
A musket volley before the pikestaff charge

Weymouth Carnival

Red Arrows fly past
Red Arrows fly past
"It's life Jim, but not as we know it" - Carnival parade
“It’s life Jim, but not as we know it” – Carnival parade
Carnival fireworks in the Bay
Carnival fireworks in the Bay

New Years Eve in Weymouth Town

New Years Eve fancy dress - one of the biggest in Europe(Press photo)
(Press photo)
Hundreds of "animals", "Pharoahs", "Gangsters" and "Dinosaurs" in The Gloucester Pub (Gloucester Inn photo)
(Gloucester Inn photo)
Cavaliers in the Pub "Where's D'Artignan got to?"
Cavaliers in the Pub “Where’s D’Artignan got to?”

And many, many more…..

Kite FestivalAutocrossMotocrossDragon Boats
Gig BoatsIron ManSeafoodVolleyball
Santa RunHarbour SwimPowerboatsVintage Cars
Harley DavisonVeterans DayMilitary VehiclesD-Day Landing
Civil WarCarnivalNew Years Eve

A postcard from Weymouth Town

Postcard Series

Weymouth has a long and distinguished history

The town we presently know as Weymouth was originally two towns. Melcombe lay to the North of the shared Harbour and “old” Weymouth was across the water, to the South. The Harbour came to prominence in the 13th Century, mainly trading wool.

Cove Row (on the Weymouth side), from the Town Bridge
Cove Row (on the Weymouth side), from the Town Bridge

The two rival towns united in 1571, by Act of Parliament. This did not succeed in averting hostilities in the English Civil War. A cannonball can still be seen, embedded into a wall in Maiden Street. The resulting “double-borough” may be the reason why there were more councillors than in most UK townships, until recent reorganisations. Later, the Harbour became a busy fishing port.

Middle Harbour, looking towards the 1930's Bascule Town Bridge and St Joseph's
Middle Harbour, looking towards the 1930’s Bascule Town Bridge and St Joseph’s

Some historical events

Previous posts in this “Postcard” series highlight some of our local history. Developments include The Esplanade, contributions to the response to the Spanish Armada, smuggling, piracy and founding of the American Colonies.

Baptist Chapel (1513) on The Esplanade
Baptist Chapel (1513) on The Esplanade

Along the way, the “Black Death” entered Weymouth in 1348. Also, King George III effectively put Weymouth on the map as a seaside resort. Stacie’s was the first purpose-built hotel in Weymouth Town, from 1773. The site is currently the Royal Hotel (1899). During the Second World War, over 450,000 troops and 100,000 military vehicles paraded down The Esplanade to embark for Operation Overlord (D-Day).

Parts of the White Hart Pub date from the 15th Century
Parts of the White Hart Pub date from the 15th Century

Weymouth Town Centre

In Medieval times, the burgs of Weymouth and Melcombe Regis were little more than clusters of dwellings, either side of the trading and fishing port. In the 16th Century, a Dominican Friary, dating from 1418, built a jetty from the mainland on the Melcombe side to the approximate site of the current Alexandra Gardens.

The Golden Lion (1721)
The Golden Lion (1721)

Origin of Weymouth’s main thoroughfares

A succession of piers and embankments led to the extension of these lands and the population grew. The present-day St Mary and St Edmund streets were no more than pathways between grassy slopes.

The 17th Century Duke of Cornwall inn, next to the Old Guildhall
The 17th Century Duke of Cornwall inn, next to the Old Guildhall

Accommodation in the new tourist spot

By the 18th Century, houses in the growing “Weymouth Town” were a mix of ancient timber frame buildings and stone constructions, with mullion windows. The 1776 Improvement Act resulted in removal of thatch roofs by about 1784. The development of Weymouth as a tourist resort began with the visits by King George III, from 1750 to 1805. During this period, many more visitors, particularly wealthy patrons and gentry, chose to come to the Town but suitable accommodation was scarce.

St Mary's Church (1817), built by the architect Hamilton
St Mary’s Church (1817), built by the architect Hamilton

By the mid-nineteenth century, the Royal Baths, coffee salons, assembly and reading rooms were in regular use and some commercial buildings, such as banks, appeared.

The former Eliot, Pierce and Co Bank, which failed in 1897
The former Eliot, Pierce and Co Bank, which failed in 1897

Theatres, banks and open spaces

The Theatre Royal was, in 1771, one of the first purpose-built theatres outside London. Alexandra Gardens became public gardens in 1867, with a bandstand in 1891. In 1924, a concert hall replaced the bandstand.

Before HSBC, we do not know who occupied this 19th Century building
Before HSBC, we do not know who occupied this 19th Century building

Roller-skating rinks provided adventurous entertainment at the Burdon Hotel and Grange Road. The coming of affordable rail travel for all in the 1850’s saw rapid development in Weymouth. Trade routes from the Channel Islands added greatly to the wealth of the area. New Town Centre dwellings, shops and inns opened, with many now offering modest rooms for travelers. Weymouth Town had arrived!